By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Bar bites dog: Well, this is surprising. A bar and restaurant owner last week sued Avi Adelman, operator of the barkingdogs.org website and all around pain in the butt to bars on Lower Greenville Avenue, for libel. By "surprising" we mean that, according to Adelman's website, this is the first time he's been sued in 12 years of referring to drinking establishments as "scumbars."
You would have thought someone would have tried to wring a few ounces of blood out of Adelman's turnip a long time ago. Shoot, the Observer keeps a lawyer on speed dial, and we're way nicer than he is.
Through Barking Dogs, Adelman has been nipping at the heels of Lost Society on Lower Greenville since at least June, when bar co-owner Brightman "Brian" Nwatu was taken into custody, accused of evading deportation for five years. Two days later, Adelman followed up with news that Fernando Rosales, Lost Society's co-owner, had been popped by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for claiming to be the sole owner of Lost Society.
But what really got Rosales and his lawyer Armando Miranda steamed is Adelman's repeated claim that a fatal shooting that took place on a nearby parking lot in June was the result of a fight that started in Lost Society. The Observer's own Andrea Grimes, who spoke to cops and witnesses, and the Morning News reported that wasn't the case.
Um, Avi, we hate to break it to you, but our lawyer makes a noise—sort of like "gnnnnhhuh"—whenever presented with purported facts that are a bit iffy.
Miranda says he and Rosales asked Adelman last month to refrain from publishing "anything [he hasn't] verified with someone." Says the attorney, "We just approached him and said, 'Can we reach an agreement about this?'" Had Adelman agreed, Miranda says, "We would probably drop this in a heartbeat."
Adelman says he told Miranda, "'Show me proof [the claims] are untrue.'...He never sent one document to me until the lawsuit docs on Saturday night."
Miranda says what ultimately led to the filing on Friday was a post on Barking Dogs dated December 4: It offers a recap of the doings thus far, and the attorney alleges that much of what is there is either untrue or distorted to the point of libel.
Miranda sought a temporary restraining order that would have kept Adelman from posting any further about Lost Society, but that was rejected by the court. He says his client's "ultimate goal" is to have the Barking Dog remove all postings about Lost Society.
Says Adelman: "That's not going to happen."